The food supply at the Abbotsford Food Bank is at the lowest point it has ever been for this time of year.
Executive director Dave Murray said the agency recently had to purchase $15,000 worth of food to restock the shelves.
He said donations were down during the last Christmas campaign, which usually collects enough non-perishable food to last for most of the year.
“We knew in February that we were going to be in trouble,” he said.
By June, the food bank’s supply of staples – including rice, canned vegetables and pasta – had run out.
But thanks to connections that Kayla Feenstra of Dragonlily Gardens had with farmers in the area, enough fresh produce was donated to last through the summer.
Now, with produce not being grown on a large scale in the colder months, the food bank is back to relying on canned goods.
An average increase of 100 families per month – the food bank currently serves about 4,000 people – has added a further burden on the agency.
An example of the drop in donations was the recent BC Thanksgiving Food Drive, in which items collected in Abbotsford stayed in the community.
Murray said about 16 palettes of food were donated in 2012, compared to half that amount this year.
He said it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why donations are down, but a major event is in the works to help boost contributions for the holiday season.
The food bank is partnering with the Ramada Plaza and Conference Centre to host a toy drive on Friday, Nov. 29 from 6 to 9 a.m. The event will include a buffet breakfast, Santa, and entertainment, with the goal of collecting cash donations, as well as 1,000 gifts for distribution at Christmas.
“We want it to be the biggest event we’ve ever done,” Murray said.
Final details are still being worked out.
Meanwhile, Murray said the five main items currently needed at the food bank are: canned vegetables, pasta, peanut butter, rice and baby food/supplies.
The facility is located at 33914 Essendene Ave. For more information, call 604-859-5749 or visit abbotsfordfoodbank.com.